HONOLULU – The State of Hawaii filed a notice of appeal today of the circuit court’s decision in Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission, Civil No. 07-1-1663-08 JHC, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.
In 2007, three beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act sued the State, alleging that the State had inadequately funded the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). This year a circuit court ordered the State to fulfill its duty under the State Constitution by appropriating “sufficient general funds” to DHHL for its fiscal year (FY) 2015-2016 administrative and operating budget. Governor David Ige then proposed, and state legislators appropriated $17.1 million for FY 2015-2016 and $23.9 million for FY 2016-2017 for DHHL’s administration and operating budget. Today’s appeal does not impact these appropriations and it does not stop DHHL from spending this money.
Attorney General Chin said, “The circuit court decision raised important policy and constitutional issues. These included questions about separation of powers and questions about what expenses are appropriately included in DHHL’s administration and operating budget pursuant to the State Constitution. Some believe this year’s appropriation is too much, while others feel it is still not enough. A decision from the State Supreme Court should help provide more direction in future years, and may avoid more lawsuits down the road.”
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For more information, contact:
Joshua A. Wisch
Special Assistant to the Attorney General